Life has changed. Vacations no longer consist of sitting idly by the pool, or packing a nice, light bag solely meant for me.
There is no:
Why don’t I spend a bunch of time setting up this super artful photograph?
Gosh, that was such a great ski line, why don’t we hike up the mountain and do it again?
Man, I have been surfing for hours. Let’s go and chill on the beach with a beer.
Hey, let’s grab our kayaks and disappear for a few days down this super dangerous river where there is no cell reception!
You never know how much doing you are going to do when you say, I do, right? Now I have two young boys and life is very different.
When my first son was born a good friend said, “Welcome to manhood.” He couldn’t have been more right. Kids are the real test of will and perseverance. I swear every time I hear the word, “Dad,” another hair pops off my head.
But it is exactly what the freewheeling, fun-soaked, and child-free folks often hear from a subservient procreator like me….
It’s so rewarding.
Life is more challenging, and some days I feel like I’m walking around with my pant pockets turned inside out. But what a thrill to play witness and direction to my two boy’s endless discoveries. Here a just a few precious moments from this new adventure.
I captured the above image in the direct sun of the afternoon by raising the f-stop up along with the shutter speed to cut the glare and sharpen the contrast. It reminds me of my youth when I would spend countless hours in the water idly passing the dog days of summer by with nary a care in the world. My how things change!
Despite being a father and a working professional, I still enjoy playing around with photography when I can.
I took a recent course at Piedmont Park focused on lighting. Plenty of factors to consider, much of it requiring more gear than I care to sport around. But if you want to expand your knowledge and live in and around Atlanta, check out Mike Moreland. He brings the models and the gear, and you’ll certainly learn a few tricks. The true art though – in my humble opinion – is directing the model in the context of the scene.
Yes, I got these:
But I actually like this one – no light and off the cuff.
I can’t pretend to know for sure, but for me it encapsulates what I think many black men, especially in Ferguson, feel about the world around them. Want to get a greater appreciation? Hit the new Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta. We’ve come a long way, but there is still work to be done.
Wow, I’m 40. Chased a few dreams, found one or two. But nothing compares to my wife and two boys. Houston will soon be 6, and Heyward is approaching 6 months. They all recently joined me on the trail for a great 10 mile hike. My birthday wish is for more time by the fire as we share a common respect for the world around us and plans for the next adventure.
This is a bird box in my backyard where a pair of bluebirds are nesting. I am quite familiar with the male and female, but over the weekend I noticed the presence of another male. After watching a little further I noticed the one male helping the other with gathering food for the chicks. I thought that was a little odd. Turns out that when young males can’t find a mate they help their parents.
As a boy I had the distinct pleasure of accompanying a local ornithologist on bird banding adventures where we would string fine nets across the marshes and forests of Charleston, SC. Sometimes a Grosbeak or a Sharpshin would punish my hands as I tried to free them, but it was always worth it to hold them for an instance, band and weigh their fragile bodies, and hope to see them and their brethren the next year.
Now as an adult and living in the big city of Atlanta, I wake up every morning to the intricate songs of birds that I can’t believe are able to navigate the incessant dangers of the modern world.
I cringe when I hear stories of southern hunters taking out hawks and owls because they prey on their precious quail and doves. Or watching a not-so-innocent house cat scope out my bird feeders.
Heading shrimp off the boat; cotillion classes and confirmations; shooting clays and shucking oysters; and wrought iron fences surrounding the soft safety net of abiding colonial homes would all satisfy a particular southern lens. But that is a sliver of a much larger picture.
Over time I’ve had the chance to live in various southern states: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Carrying a camera through these environs, I’ve tried to find my place with it. What I have discovered is a variety that only rare chances of history, geography and biology could ever possibly create.
The South has never been just black and white but a colorful infusion of different cultures and ethnicities since the beginning of human time. It is a Puerto Rican woman astride a horse in Ybor City, Florida. It is an Indian model in Atlanta, Georgia. And a young Charleston, South Carolina girl with shotgun shells for nails.
Spruce-fir forests similar to Canadian environments propel rivers and kayakers to oceans that carry Manatees, Great Whites and professional surfers. Southern workers weld and build products that are shipped and flown to the farthest reaches of the Earth while we embrace globalization in our smallest communities.
This contrasting and constantly changing amalgamation of time, place and reach shapes the South as I see it. When I am lucky, I may just convey some small part of it in pictures.